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2016 MLB thread. THE CUBS HAVE BROKEN THE CURSE! Chicago Cubs are your 2016 World Series champions. - Page 26

post #751 of 77558
smiley: laugh Pro, good thing I stacked up on SP like always for our NT league. Pineda and Garcia are helping to make up for Liriano's terrible performances thus far. 
REAL MADRID - EAGLES - SIXERS - BRUINS
INDIANS - OHIO STATE FOOTBALL - ARIZONA BASKETBALL
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REAL MADRID - EAGLES - SIXERS - BRUINS
INDIANS - OHIO STATE FOOTBALL - ARIZONA BASKETBALL
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post #752 of 77558
smiley: laugh Pro, good thing I stacked up on SP like always for our NT league. Pineda and Garcia are helping to make up for Liriano's terrible performances thus far. 
REAL MADRID - EAGLES - SIXERS - BRUINS
INDIANS - OHIO STATE FOOTBALL - ARIZONA BASKETBALL
Reply
REAL MADRID - EAGLES - SIXERS - BRUINS
INDIANS - OHIO STATE FOOTBALL - ARIZONA BASKETBALL
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post #753 of 77558
ozzie guillen smiley: laughsmiley: pimp

and why did they trade bobby jenks?
post #754 of 77558
ozzie guillen smiley: laughsmiley: pimp

and why did they trade bobby jenks?
post #755 of 77558
Big Z, big swing.  smiley: pimp
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
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MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
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post #756 of 77558
Big Z, big swing.  smiley: pimp
MIAMI DOLPHINS
LA LAKERS
CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
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MIAMI DOLPHINS
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CHICAGO CUBS
MIAMI HURRICANES
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post #757 of 77558
Thread Starter 
Zambrano's hitting prowess smiley: laugh.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler [+]

Today's Stat of the Day leads me -- not to mention several of my favorite Twitter followers -- to ask this compelling question:

Is Carlos Zambrano in the wrong line of work?

Big Z launched his 22nd career home run Wednesday night. His 22nd! Which got me to thinking. And that, as you loyal readers know, is always a frightening development.

So is this man more dangerous at the plate than he is on the mound? Think about it as you peruse these fun statistics:

• As I observed last night on Twitter, that 22nd trot means Zambrano has now passed Biff Pocoroba, F.P. Santangelo and Harold Reynolds on the all-time home run list. And thanks to the miracle of Twitter, we get to pass along Santangelo's amusing reaction to that news: "If I would have played at Wrigley my whole career I would have had at least 23!" Good point, actually.

• Even more impressive, though, is this news: Zambrano now has a better career home run ratio (one every 28.3 at-bats) than Victor Martinez, Michael Cuddyer, Pudge Rodriguez or Billy Butler. And he's closing in on Shin-Soo Choo (one every 28.1).

• The list of Zambrano's victims here is amazingly impressive. He's homered off Roy Oswalt, Mark Buehrle, Yovani Gallardo, Tom Glavine, Wandy Rodriguez, Kyle Lohse and Aaron Harang -- among others. Fun list!

• As the Elias Sports Bureau pointed out after Wednesday's rocket off Fernando Abad, Zambrano has now hit a home run in nine consecutive seasons. And only one other pitcher in the 51-season expansion era has ever done that: Gary Peters (from 1963-71).

• That homer also raised Zambrano's career slugging percentage to the precipice of .400 (.393, to be exact). According to Lee Sinins' Complete Baseball Encyclopedia, the only pitcher in the live-ball era with at least 10 homers and a higher slugging percentage than that was Ken (Brother of George) Brett, at .406.

• According to our friends at hittrackeronline.com, Zambrano's bomb Wednesday traveled an estimated 428 feet. That makes it the longest home run by any pitcher since a 440-foot shot by CC Sabathia in 2008. Andohbytheway, that also meant it soared 90 feet farther than Alex Rodriguez's 338-foot Yankee Stadium special Wednesday.

• And finally, here's this goofy list that I just had to look up. Not even sure why. It's the 20-20 Club -- pitchers who have hit 20 homers but never had a 20-win season (since 1900):

OK, so what do those three all have in common? They all pitched (and hit) in Chicago. What else? Must be a deep-dish thing.




Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler [+]

It is understood, in the world of baseball players and their fans, that you must respect the karma of momentum. If your team is rallying, then you must not change anything -- not your seat placement, not your posture, not your choice of words.

ins_u_gonzalez_200.jpg
Getty ImagesGio Gonzalez is one of five capable A's starters.

And this is how it came to pass that a group of Oakland pitchers were locked into place, like statues, in the visitors clubhouse in Chicago on Wednesday, as the Athletics rallied in the ninth inning. Brett Anderson was rooted to a leather couch as Josh Willingham drove in the first run with a single, as Hideki Matsui singled, as Daric Barton drew a walk.

When Cliff Pennington's bloop fell into center field and the tying run scored, the pitchers in the clubhouse briefly came off their spots for joyous high-fives, and within an hour, Anderson and the others greeted their teammates after Oakland battled through another close win.

It looks like the Athletics will have a full summer of tense games like this, because they have great pitching and an offense that will never be prolific. "It seems like every game is [decided] by one or two runs," Anderson said as the Athletics prepared to fly out of Chicago. "We've got a good pitching staff, a good bullpen. We get [Andrew] Bailey coming back soon, and more times than not we're going to win close games."

Last year, the word that defined the San Francisco Giants' games, within that organization, was "torture," popularized by the club's broadcasters, because every day it seemed like the games came down to one pitch, one at-bat, and because generating runs felt, at times, like tooth extraction.

It's a word the Athletics could borrow this year.

Oakland is 26th in on-base percentage, at .296, and the Athletics have a staff ERA of 2.90. Eight of Oakland's first 12 games have been decided by one or two runs, and the Athletics have already played four extra-inning games.

Anderson was happy to get a lift from the Oakland bullpen. Coco Crisp didn't start, but he was in the middle of that rally, Susan Slusser writes.

By the way: Andrew Bailey is expected to throw a side session today, and if he comes through that OK and continues to progress, he'll probably be pitching in the big leagues in about two weeks.

Notables


Josh Johnson is one of a handful of pitchers who seem capable of a no-hitter every time they pitch -- Roy Halladay, Felix Hernandez and Ubaldo Jimenez are others -- and he overpowered the Braves on Wednesday night. He would have been the fifth pitcher in Marlins history to throw a no-hitter, Clark Spencer writes. From Daniel Braunstein of ESPN Stats & Information, how Johnson nearly no-hit Atlanta:

(A) His slider was dominant. Johnson threw 33 sliders, 25 for strikes. The Braves swung at 22, missing on 13 (59.1 percent), the highest miss percentage against Johnson's slider over the last two seasons. Seven of Johnson's nine strikeouts were with the slider, eclipsing his previous career high of five. All seven of Johnson's strikeouts with the slider were swinging.
(B) Johnson turned to the slider more often with two strikes than he normally does. Nineteen of Johnson's 33 two-strike pitches (57.6 percent) were sliders, far above his 2010 season average of 30.6 percent.
(C) The Braves put just five of Johnson's sliders in play, and none left the infield. Four were groundouts, and one was a lineout.

Johnson now ranks second in ERA at Turner Field since 1997:

Josh Beckett: 1.40
Josh Johnson: 1.49
Rick Reed: 2.06
Kerry Wood: 2.08

Josh Hamilton apologized to his third-base coach. The Yankees are using the Josh Hamilton injury as a teaching moment. The Braves fine their minor leaguers $50 for sliding into home plate head-first, writes David O'Brien.

• A jury found Barry Bonds guilty of one count, and I'm struggling to think how this changes anything. It doesn't change his legacy, which is carved into stone; he will always be remembered as an extraordinary player who used performance-enhancing drugs. A lot of his peers in baseball will always ask the same question: What compelled a player of such unique talent to embrace artificial enhancement?

The perception of Bonds by baseball fans seems to be locked into place, too -- he is loved by a lot of Giants fans, it seems, but reviled by others who will always view him as a cheater (but also clearly spent a lot of money to go parks to boo him, based on the road attendance numbers generated by San Francisco). None of this will change his chances for getting into the Hall of Fame, which seem remote at best, with a large core of voters having decided that they will never vote for anyone linked to the use of performance-enhancing drugs -- and fairly or not, Bonds and Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire will forever be part of baseball's steroid Mt. Rushmore, because of the many remarkable numbers on the back of their baseball cards.

And the jury's decision may not really alter Bonds' life very much, given that many experts are predicting that he won't serve any prison time. The legal issues may soon go away, but the cloud that hangs over him is there forever.

The jurors found a thin common ground, writes Malia Wollan. His own words came back to convict him, writes Gwen Knapp. The Giants had little to say about the Bonds verdict, writes Scott Ostler. The conviction implicates the entire industry. Baseball's home run king is now a felon, writes Mike Lupica.

One possible long-term ramification from this: This conviction does give Major League Baseball an avenue to consider suspending Bonds from working in the sport. Remember, he has a personal services contract with the Giants.

• Indians prospect Drew Pomeranz had another brilliant start.

• Ubaldo Jimenez will be back soon and he will face Tim Lincecum.

• The Rangers are reportedly close to signing outfielder Leonys Martin, a Cuban defector. I emailed some talent evaluators not affiliated with the Rangers and asked what they know of Martin. Their responses:

Talent evaluator No. 1: "I think he has a chance to be a solid player, similar to Juan Pierre, with a better arm. Does that translate to a $15 million deal? I don't know, but Texas's track record on international players over the past few years has been pretty good."

Talent evaluator No. 2: "I like Leonys Martin and he was undoubtedly one of Cuba's top young players, but, as with a lot of good Cuban players, I'm not convinced his skill set will translate into him becoming a premium Major League player.

"The best way I can describe Martin is that his reputation seems to exceed the sum of his parts. Martin has plus speed and a good arm but no other premium skills or tools, so the rumored $15M seems aggressive.

"He was about a .310 or .315 career hitter in Cuba, but that was in a pitching-poor league in which the average hitter has hit .300 in recent years, so he was only a slightly above-average hitter down there. He has a little pop but he's a slasher type who rarely puts the ball in the air, so I'd be surprised if he hits more than 8 to 12 HR in the ML. On the plus side, Martin wasn't overly susceptible to left-handed pitching and he walked slightly more than he struck out, although neither his strikeout nor walk ratios were really good or really bad.

"Martin definitely has plus speed and a good arm, but those two tools didn't translate into Martin being an elite defensive CF in Cuba. As you know, people have a tendency to believe a plus arm and plus speed equals plus defense, but Martin is nowhere near being a Michael Bourn type in CF. All in all, I can see Martin as a capable, average major league centerfielder, but probably not an elite CF. While I don't believe either Jose Iglesias or Adeiny Hechavarria will hit in the ML, both should be premium defensive SS. But in Martin's case, he grades out more average across the board (except speed), so it's harder to see star potential."

Talent evaluator No. 3: "I have never seen the player, but he sounds like he has strong running ability, fielding ability and throwing ability with good hitting ability. Limited power potential."

Moves, deals and decisions


1. The Rangers have had no conversations with other teams about Michael Young since late in spring training, and right now, it doesn't appear as if anything will drive the team to make a trade before Young's 10-and-5 trade-veto rights kick in during the month of May. We had Young on the radio the other day and he said that once the season started, it was time to put the unhappiness of the winter behind him and focus on playing baseball.

2. Brandon Belt's shift from first base to the outfield has a familiar ring to it, John Shea writes.

3. The Dodgers have stopped plans to sell half-price alcohol.

4. The Royals' primary setup man lost his job.

5. A Tigers reliever was demoted.

6. The Red Sox are skipping John Lackey in their rotation, rather than Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Dings and dents


1. Ramon Hernandez is worried about Aroldis Chapman, whose velocity is suddenly down significantly.

2. A red flag has popped up with Chris Young.

3. Pedro Feliciano had a setback, Joel Sherman writes within his notebook.

4. J.J. Hardy was placed on the disabled list.

5. Franklin Gutierrez is making his way back from his stomach problems.

6. Some injured Angels will rehab in Arizona, including Kendrys Morales.

Wednesday's games


1. The Colorado Rockies are establishing, right out of the gate, that they are a team capable of excellence -- with the two core stars in their lineup, and their powerful bullpen, and their good young pitching. Troy Tulowitzki got another big hit and Huston Street racked up his sixth save, as the Rockies won on the road.

2. The White Sox bullpen has been a disaster so far, and it melted down in the late innings, and Ozzie Guillen mentioned that he might reach out to Bobby Thigpen.

3. Carlos Zambrano kept his cool after being pulled from the game; he apologized to his manager.

4. Charlie Manuel allowed Roy Halladay to finish what he started.

5. The Nats rallied in the ninth -- but not quite enough.

6. A.J. Burnett showed he still can't be totally trusted, writes John Harper. Burnett is benefiting in a big way from his use of a changeup, which he showed great confidence in during the Yankees' win over the Orioles -- and keep in mind that as of today, Burnett has more wins than the Red Sox.

7. Pablo Sandoval mashed a right-handed home run.

8. Ian Kennedy got blasted.

9. Terry Collins called a team meeting after the Mets' most recent loss.

10. Watched the start of the Orioles-Yankees game and Chris Tillman looked like he had no chance.

11. The Mariners lost their chance for a sweep, Larry Stone writes.

12. Ted Lilly had issues with the Giants, in losing.

13. Vernon Wells found something positive in the Angels' victory in extra innings, writes Mike DiGiovanna.

14. Orlando Hudson was The Man for the Padres, writes Bill Center.

15. The numbers were ugly, but the Twins say they like what they're seeing in Francisco Liriano, writes Joe Christensen. This reminds me of how the Red Sox wanted Clay Buchholz to change a couple of years ago -- and he did so, successfully. From Mr. Braunstein, why Liriano is struggling to get good results, with an ERA over 9:

(A) Hitters are chasing his off-speed stuff: His first three opponents have chased just 8 percent of fastballs out of the strike zone, 26 percent of sliders, and 33 percent of changeups. Those are all way below 2010's percentages (which were 20, 37 and 45, respectively). Opponents have missed with just two of their 55 swings against his heater in 2011.
(B) His velocity on all three pitches is down so far this year. His fastball has dropped a full 2 mph (93.5 to 91.5); his slider and change are down by 1 mph as well.
(C) His poor command results in fewer strikes on all three pitches: Fastballs have gone for 57.4 percent strikes this year (down from 62.6), sliders 60.0 (69.0), and changeups just 51.5 (60.0). That's forcing Liriano to fall behind in counts; he's actually thrown more pitches when trailing in the count this season than ahead.
(D) He hasn't been able to do any damage control. Opponents are hitting .393 with runners on base, 114 points higher than last season. On Wednesday, Liriano gave up "only" eight hits, but ALL EIGHT came in the same inning and led to six Royals runs.

16. The Cardinals muscled up against the Diamondbacks, writes Derrick Goold. Lance Berkman is heating up.

17. The Royals clubbed the Twins.

18. Brandon Inge got to frolic, writes Shawn Windsor.

19. Nick Masset melted down.

20. The Indians let chances slip away, writes Paul Hoynes.

21. Shaun Marcum was The Man for the Brewers.

22. The Pirates fell below .500. The Pirates' rotation is unsettled.

23. The Braves had no answers.

24. The booing started after Wandy Rodriguez's 24th pitch.

The Patience Index



Rumors.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler [+]

Deal for Young unlikely

11:09AM ET
Michael Young | Rangers
4566.jpg

The Texas Rangers so far have had no trouble finding at-bats for Michael Young, who has started all 12 games, including eight at designated hitter, while hitting a robust .333.

Young appeared to be the man without a position when the Rangers signed third baseman Adrian Beltre, but the trade rumors, once rampant in spring training, seem to have subsided considerably.

"The Rangers have had no conversations with other teams about Young since near the end of spring training, and right now, it doesn't appear as if anything will drive the team to make a trade before Young's 10-and-5 trade-veto rights kick in during the month of May, writes ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney in Thursday's blog.

The shoulder injury suffered by Josh Hamilton earlier this week opened up another spot in the batting order, making it evn more unlikely that Young will be dealt, at least for now.

- Doug Mittler

Brewers eye shortstop depth

10:51AM ET
Milwaukee Brewers
mil.gif

The Milwaukee Brewers are dangerously thin at shortstop at the top minor league level and are looking to make a deal, reports Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel.

The problem got worse when Edwin Maysonet, the starting shortstop at Triple-A Nashville, strained his right hamstring Tuesday and is headed to the disabled list. Journeyman Anderson Machado, who has played 24 games in the majors, currently is playing shortstop for the Sounds.

While assistant GM Gord Ash is looking for help, he admits "there's not a lot available."

The Brewers had hoped that Luis Cruz would fill the role, but he exercised his right of free agency at the end of spring training and signed with Texas.

- Doug Mittler

Is Leonys Martin worth the cost?

10:38AM ET
Texas Rangers
tex.gif

We mentioned Wednesday that the Texas Rangers are expected to sign Cuban defector Leonys Martin and give the Cuban defector a signing bonus in the neighborhood of $15 million, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.

The Rangers could use some immediate outfield help due to the injury to Josh Hamilton, but the 23-year-old would likely begin his career in Class-A Hickory or Double-A Frisco. Grant does say it "is not unrealistic" to think Martin could be in a major league uniform before the end of the season.

In Thursday's blog, ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney talked to several talent evaluators who seemed to be split on Martin, including one who wonders if Martin is worth the cost:

- Doug Mittler

olney_buster_30.jpg
Buster Olney

The book on Martin

"Talent evaluator No. 2: 'I like Leonys Martin and he was undoubtedly one of Cuba's top young players, but, as with a lot of good Cuban players, I'm not convinced his skill set will translate into him becoming a premium Major League player. The best way I can describe Martin is that his reputation seems to exceed the sum of his parts. Martin has plus speed and a good arm but no other premium skills or tools, so the rumored $15M seems aggressive.'"


Ubaldo on pace for Monday return

10:24AM ET
Ubaldo Jimenez | Rockies
28625.jpg

The return of Ubaldo Jimenez to the Colorado Rockies' rotation is shaping up as a marquee affair.

Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports Jimenez threw 81 pitches Wednesday in Arizona without pain and is on course to face Tim Lincecum and the Giants Monday night at Coors Field. The Rockies decided to play it safe when they placed Jimenez on the DL with a cut along his right thumb cuticle.

Jimenez's return could be the end of a big-league stint for Greg Reynolds, who started a game last week in Pittsburgh.

- Doug Mittler

Velocity issues for Chapman

10:10AM ET
Aroldis Chapman | Reds
30442.jpg

As soon as Aroldis Chapman throws a pitch, an initial reaction is to glance at the radar gun to see if the hard-throwing lefthander has again passed 100 miles per hour.

Chapman however, was only in the double-digit range the last two nights in San Diego, and catcher Ramon Hernandez wonders if it is a cause for concern. "Maybe he's tired. He's never had to go back-to-back two days in a row," Hernandez tells MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. "Especially him, when he's throws the ball, there's a lot of stress, more than any pitcher, because he throws way harder."

Chapman was working on back-to-back days and for the fourth time in five days, so the initial reaction would be to lighten his workload. Chapman, however, threw just 11 and 10 pitches, respectively the last two nights, as compared to 24 Sunday in Arizona.

Chapman also did reach 98 mph on his final pitch Tuesday, so it's not as if his velocity has vanished.

- Doug Mittler

Tejeda removed from set-up role

9:47AM ET
Robinson Tejeda | Royals
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The Kansas City Royals are off to a 7-4 start, a break from the gate that is even more surprising considering the shaky outings from middle reliever Robinson Tejeda.

After failing to retire a batter Tuesday against the Twins, Tejeda was removed from his role of primary set-up man, writes Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.

While Tejeda (5.06 ERA) deals with his problem of diminished velocity, manager Ned Yost could give more crucial innings to rookies Tim Collins, Aaron Crow and Jeremy Jeffress. The switch got off to a solid start with Collins and Jeffress combining for 3 2/3 scoreless innings Wednesday in a 10-5 victory over Minnesota.

The Royals aren't giving up on Tejeda, who worked in 54 games last season. Dutton writes that Tejeda changed his offseason throwing program to avoid shoulder issues, so the problems could be mechanical.

- Doug Mittler

Samardzija back to the rotation?

9:28AM ET
Jeff Samardzija | Cubs
29166.jpg

The Chicago Cubs didn't like what they saw from James Russell, whose audition for the fifth starter role Tuesday lasted just 55 pitches and 1 2/3 innings in a loss to Houston.

Russell's turn will come up again Tuesday night against San Diego and the Cubs could switch to Jeff Samardzija, if only by default, reports Gordon Wittenmyer of the Sun-Times.

Samardzija has switched back and forth from the bullpen to the rotation last year, and manager Mike Quade would prefer the righthander to have a more defined role. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and Samardzija remains in the starter discussion.

Wittenmyer says the Cubs also could turn to recently signed veteran Ramon Ortiz, who pitched 52/3 effective innings for Triple-A Iowa on Monday, or give Russell another shot.

- Doug Mittler

Second base platoon in Queens

9:11AM ET
New York Mets
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Spring training in New York Mets camp featured a spirited second base battle that was eventually won by Rule 5 draftee Brad Emaus. But less than two weeks into the season, there are hints that Terry Collins is at least considering some form of platoon, even if the manager won?t call it that.

Daniel Murphy started at second for the second straight game Wednesday in place of Emaus, who is hitting just .167.

While the Mets value Murphy as a bench player, they also need to get him some at-bats to keep him sharp.

- Doug Mittler

Keeping the Fenway streak alive

8:59AM ET
Boston Red Sox
bos.gif

We at Rumor Central love a good conspiracy theory and one surfaced in Boston Wednesday afternoon when the Red Sox postponed their contest with the Tampa Bay Rays four hours before the scheduled first pitch.

There was talk among the visiting Rays was that the Sox had called the game for fear that it wouldn't sell out, thus ending the team's consecutive sellout streak at a record 636 games. Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com reports that was not the case, citing a club source who said the games against the Rays on Monday and Tuesday were a tougher sell.

Whatever the case, the 2-9 Red Sox didn't mind getting the night off.

- Doug Mittler

How safe is Dice-K?

8:39AM ET
Daisuke Matsuzaka | Red Sox
28631.jpg

Red Sox Nation watched another brutal outing from Daisuke Matsuzaka Monday night, and there is some speculation that the Japanese right-hander could be made at least a partial scapegoat for the team's brutal start.

Matsuzaka allowed seven runs on eight hits with two walks and two strikeouts in only two-plus innings against the Rays Monday night at Fenway Park. "I wouldn't be surprised if we don't see him in a Red Sox uniform again," ESPN analyst Bobby Valentine said Monday on "Baseball Tonight."

While the patience of GM Theo Epstein may be wearing thin, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark says the Red Sox have too much invested in Dice-K to pull the plug right now.

James Shields and Brett Myers are believed to be among the pitchers that will be available around the July deadline, but teams generally do not deal starters this early this season at the risk of upsetting their fan base.

- Doug Mittler

The market for Slowey

8:26AM ET
Kevin Slowey | Twins
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The Minnesota Twins sent Kevin Slowey to the bullpen to start the season and the right-hander than landed on the disabled list with bursitis on his showing shoulder.

GM Terry Smith says Slowey's stay on the DL will not be a long one. Once Slowey returns, he again becomes the club's key bargaining chip. Jon Morosi of FoxSports.com says the Twins have every reason to seek infield help since second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka is on the disabled list and shortstop Alexi Casilla is hitting well below the Mendoza Line.

There always will be a market of teams interested in starting pitching and that list could include the Boston Red Sox after Daisuke Matsuzaka had another rough outing Monday against Tampa Bay. The Twins could be tempted to keep Slowey around, or at least wait for a highly attractive deal.

The Twins do have some pitching issues of their own, as Matt Meyers of ESPN Insider points out.

- Doug Mittler

Young's start pushed back

8:02AM ET
New York Mets
nym.gif

The New York Mets landed Chris Young over the winter for the discounted price of $1.1 million, largely because the righthander missed most of last season with health issues.

Young has been a pleasant surprise with a 1.46 ERA in his first two starts, but will miss his scheduled start Friday with biceps tendinitis. The Mets are being extra cautious with Young, who will have his next outing pushed back until Sunday in Atlanta.

The Mets are stretched for pitching with a doubleheader scheduled for Thursday against the Rockies. Manager Terry Collins says .J. Carrasco is the most likely candidate to start Friday in Atlanta.

- Doug Mittler

Yanks' shortage of southpaw relievers

7:42AM ET
Pedro Feliciano | Yankees
5314.jpg

Pedro Feliciano was at the center of a controversy earlier this month when Yankees general manager Brian Cashman accused the Mets of "abusing" the workhorse reliever during his tenure in Queens.

That did not prevent Cashman from giving Feliciano, who pitched in 92 games last season, a two-year, $8 million contract over the winter, a move that now has the potential of being a serious bust. Manager Joe Girardi conceded Wednesday that Feliciano will be out indefinitely after an MRI on Wednesday afternoon revealed "a shoulder issue" that may require surgery.

The Yankees still have a solid bullpen led by Mariano Rivera and Rafael Soriano, but Feliciano's absence leaves them without a top-of-the-line lefthander.

Boone Logan has been the only lefthander in the Yankee bullpen and he has been ineffective in four appearances. The Yankees could have called up southpaw Steve Garrison, who is at Double-A Trenton, but decided instead on 24-year-old right-hander Hector Noesi to replace the disabled Luis Ayala on the roster.

- Doug Mittler

Getting by without Hamilton

7:21AM ET
Josh Hamilton | Rangers
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The fabulous start for the Texas Rangers hit a serious bump in the road Tuesday when an ill-advised head-first slide by Josh Hamilton resulted in a broken right arm that will sideline the star outfielder for six to eight weeks.

Hamilton was placed on the disabled list and the Rangers called up Chris Davis, who was unable to make the major league roster despite a solid spring training.

Murphy is likely to get most of the time in left field in Hamilton's absence, but Mitch Moreland could be another option for manager Ron Washington.

While losing the reigning Most Valuable Player is a serious blow to any team, it is far from a knockout blow to the Rangers, writes Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com. Durrett notes that Murphy was a huge offensive producer when Hamilton missed last September, batting .355 with three homers and 17 RBIs in that final month of the season.

What will the Rangers miss the most without Hamilton? Our Buster Olney gives his take in Wednesday's blog.

Meanhwhile, Eric Karabell gives his suggestions on how to replace Hamilton on your fantasy team.

- Doug Mittler

olney_buster_30.jpg
Buster Olney

Hamilton leans to the left

"With the likelihood that Murphy will get the bulk of the playing time in the absence of Hamilton, what aspects of Hamilton's performance will the Rangers miss most? One is performance versus lefties. Hamilton has been really good throughout his career vs. right-handed pitching, and Murphy is no slouch, with a .490 career slugging percentage them. But Murphy doesn't have a great history against lefties. He had 1 homer in 114 at bats against lefties last season. Hamilton had 8 in 166."


karabell_eric_30.jpg
Eric Karabell

How best to replace Hamilton

"As for outfielders available in more than half of ESPN's standard leagues, if you're looking for power there's Josh Willingham, Jonny Gomes, Seth Smith, Tyler Colvin, Marlon Byrd and Pat Burrell. If speed is your thing, there's Dexter Fowler, Carlos Gomez, Cameron Maybin, Michael Brantley and recent folk hero Sam Fuld. Personally, I'd just go with Murphy, owned in 5.1 percent of leagues."


Bullpen tests Ozzie's patience

7:13AM ET
Chicago White Sox
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The Chicago White Sox have the day off Thursday, giving manager Ozzie Guillen some time to cool off and decide what he will do next regarding his bullpen.

The White Sox had another implosion from the relief corps Wednesday when Matt Thornton blew his fourth save of the season in a 7-4 loss to the Athletics. "I don't have any closer," Guillen tells ESPNChicago.com . "I don't have any closer. I don't."

The White Sox bullpen has yielded 22 earned runs in 36.2 innings and six blown saves in seven chances. Guillen could turn to Chris Sale, but he also struggled Wednesday, allowing three runs in the ninth inning. Guillen also could consider Jesse Crain or Sergio Santos for a closer audition.

As for trade possibilities, teams tend to be reluctant to deal relievers this early in the season, so Guillen may have to grin and bear it, at least for now.


post #758 of 77558
Thread Starter 
Zambrano's hitting prowess smiley: laugh.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler [+]

Today's Stat of the Day leads me -- not to mention several of my favorite Twitter followers -- to ask this compelling question:

Is Carlos Zambrano in the wrong line of work?

Big Z launched his 22nd career home run Wednesday night. His 22nd! Which got me to thinking. And that, as you loyal readers know, is always a frightening development.

So is this man more dangerous at the plate than he is on the mound? Think about it as you peruse these fun statistics:

• As I observed last night on Twitter, that 22nd trot means Zambrano has now passed Biff Pocoroba, F.P. Santangelo and Harold Reynolds on the all-time home run list. And thanks to the miracle of Twitter, we get to pass along Santangelo's amusing reaction to that news: "If I would have played at Wrigley my whole career I would have had at least 23!" Good point, actually.

• Even more impressive, though, is this news: Zambrano now has a better career home run ratio (one every 28.3 at-bats) than Victor Martinez, Michael Cuddyer, Pudge Rodriguez or Billy Butler. And he's closing in on Shin-Soo Choo (one every 28.1).

• The list of Zambrano's victims here is amazingly impressive. He's homered off Roy Oswalt, Mark Buehrle, Yovani Gallardo, Tom Glavine, Wandy Rodriguez, Kyle Lohse and Aaron Harang -- among others. Fun list!

• As the Elias Sports Bureau pointed out after Wednesday's rocket off Fernando Abad, Zambrano has now hit a home run in nine consecutive seasons. And only one other pitcher in the 51-season expansion era has ever done that: Gary Peters (from 1963-71).

• That homer also raised Zambrano's career slugging percentage to the precipice of .400 (.393, to be exact). According to Lee Sinins' Complete Baseball Encyclopedia, the only pitcher in the live-ball era with at least 10 homers and a higher slugging percentage than that was Ken (Brother of George) Brett, at .406.

• According to our friends at hittrackeronline.com, Zambrano's bomb Wednesday traveled an estimated 428 feet. That makes it the longest home run by any pitcher since a 440-foot shot by CC Sabathia in 2008. Andohbytheway, that also meant it soared 90 feet farther than Alex Rodriguez's 338-foot Yankee Stadium special Wednesday.

• And finally, here's this goofy list that I just had to look up. Not even sure why. It's the 20-20 Club -- pitchers who have hit 20 homers but never had a 20-win season (since 1900):

OK, so what do those three all have in common? They all pitched (and hit) in Chicago. What else? Must be a deep-dish thing.




Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler [+]

It is understood, in the world of baseball players and their fans, that you must respect the karma of momentum. If your team is rallying, then you must not change anything -- not your seat placement, not your posture, not your choice of words.

ins_u_gonzalez_200.jpg
Getty ImagesGio Gonzalez is one of five capable A's starters.

And this is how it came to pass that a group of Oakland pitchers were locked into place, like statues, in the visitors clubhouse in Chicago on Wednesday, as the Athletics rallied in the ninth inning. Brett Anderson was rooted to a leather couch as Josh Willingham drove in the first run with a single, as Hideki Matsui singled, as Daric Barton drew a walk.

When Cliff Pennington's bloop fell into center field and the tying run scored, the pitchers in the clubhouse briefly came off their spots for joyous high-fives, and within an hour, Anderson and the others greeted their teammates after Oakland battled through another close win.

It looks like the Athletics will have a full summer of tense games like this, because they have great pitching and an offense that will never be prolific. "It seems like every game is [decided] by one or two runs," Anderson said as the Athletics prepared to fly out of Chicago. "We've got a good pitching staff, a good bullpen. We get [Andrew] Bailey coming back soon, and more times than not we're going to win close games."

Last year, the word that defined the San Francisco Giants' games, within that organization, was "torture," popularized by the club's broadcasters, because every day it seemed like the games came down to one pitch, one at-bat, and because generating runs felt, at times, like tooth extraction.

It's a word the Athletics could borrow this year.

Oakland is 26th in on-base percentage, at .296, and the Athletics have a staff ERA of 2.90. Eight of Oakland's first 12 games have been decided by one or two runs, and the Athletics have already played four extra-inning games.

Anderson was happy to get a lift from the Oakland bullpen. Coco Crisp didn't start, but he was in the middle of that rally, Susan Slusser writes.

By the way: Andrew Bailey is expected to throw a side session today, and if he comes through that OK and continues to progress, he'll probably be pitching in the big leagues in about two weeks.

Notables


Josh Johnson is one of a handful of pitchers who seem capable of a no-hitter every time they pitch -- Roy Halladay, Felix Hernandez and Ubaldo Jimenez are others -- and he overpowered the Braves on Wednesday night. He would have been the fifth pitcher in Marlins history to throw a no-hitter, Clark Spencer writes. From Daniel Braunstein of ESPN Stats & Information, how Johnson nearly no-hit Atlanta:

(A) His slider was dominant. Johnson threw 33 sliders, 25 for strikes. The Braves swung at 22, missing on 13 (59.1 percent), the highest miss percentage against Johnson's slider over the last two seasons. Seven of Johnson's nine strikeouts were with the slider, eclipsing his previous career high of five. All seven of Johnson's strikeouts with the slider were swinging.
(B) Johnson turned to the slider more often with two strikes than he normally does. Nineteen of Johnson's 33 two-strike pitches (57.6 percent) were sliders, far above his 2010 season average of 30.6 percent.
(C) The Braves put just five of Johnson's sliders in play, and none left the infield. Four were groundouts, and one was a lineout.

Johnson now ranks second in ERA at Turner Field since 1997:

Josh Beckett: 1.40
Josh Johnson: 1.49
Rick Reed: 2.06
Kerry Wood: 2.08

Josh Hamilton apologized to his third-base coach. The Yankees are using the Josh Hamilton injury as a teaching moment. The Braves fine their minor leaguers $50 for sliding into home plate head-first, writes David O'Brien.

• A jury found Barry Bonds guilty of one count, and I'm struggling to think how this changes anything. It doesn't change his legacy, which is carved into stone; he will always be remembered as an extraordinary player who used performance-enhancing drugs. A lot of his peers in baseball will always ask the same question: What compelled a player of such unique talent to embrace artificial enhancement?

The perception of Bonds by baseball fans seems to be locked into place, too -- he is loved by a lot of Giants fans, it seems, but reviled by others who will always view him as a cheater (but also clearly spent a lot of money to go parks to boo him, based on the road attendance numbers generated by San Francisco). None of this will change his chances for getting into the Hall of Fame, which seem remote at best, with a large core of voters having decided that they will never vote for anyone linked to the use of performance-enhancing drugs -- and fairly or not, Bonds and Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire will forever be part of baseball's steroid Mt. Rushmore, because of the many remarkable numbers on the back of their baseball cards.

And the jury's decision may not really alter Bonds' life very much, given that many experts are predicting that he won't serve any prison time. The legal issues may soon go away, but the cloud that hangs over him is there forever.

The jurors found a thin common ground, writes Malia Wollan. His own words came back to convict him, writes Gwen Knapp. The Giants had little to say about the Bonds verdict, writes Scott Ostler. The conviction implicates the entire industry. Baseball's home run king is now a felon, writes Mike Lupica.

One possible long-term ramification from this: This conviction does give Major League Baseball an avenue to consider suspending Bonds from working in the sport. Remember, he has a personal services contract with the Giants.

• Indians prospect Drew Pomeranz had another brilliant start.

• Ubaldo Jimenez will be back soon and he will face Tim Lincecum.

• The Rangers are reportedly close to signing outfielder Leonys Martin, a Cuban defector. I emailed some talent evaluators not affiliated with the Rangers and asked what they know of Martin. Their responses:

Talent evaluator No. 1: "I think he has a chance to be a solid player, similar to Juan Pierre, with a better arm. Does that translate to a $15 million deal? I don't know, but Texas's track record on international players over the past few years has been pretty good."

Talent evaluator No. 2: "I like Leonys Martin and he was undoubtedly one of Cuba's top young players, but, as with a lot of good Cuban players, I'm not convinced his skill set will translate into him becoming a premium Major League player.

"The best way I can describe Martin is that his reputation seems to exceed the sum of his parts. Martin has plus speed and a good arm but no other premium skills or tools, so the rumored $15M seems aggressive.

"He was about a .310 or .315 career hitter in Cuba, but that was in a pitching-poor league in which the average hitter has hit .300 in recent years, so he was only a slightly above-average hitter down there. He has a little pop but he's a slasher type who rarely puts the ball in the air, so I'd be surprised if he hits more than 8 to 12 HR in the ML. On the plus side, Martin wasn't overly susceptible to left-handed pitching and he walked slightly more than he struck out, although neither his strikeout nor walk ratios were really good or really bad.

"Martin definitely has plus speed and a good arm, but those two tools didn't translate into Martin being an elite defensive CF in Cuba. As you know, people have a tendency to believe a plus arm and plus speed equals plus defense, but Martin is nowhere near being a Michael Bourn type in CF. All in all, I can see Martin as a capable, average major league centerfielder, but probably not an elite CF. While I don't believe either Jose Iglesias or Adeiny Hechavarria will hit in the ML, both should be premium defensive SS. But in Martin's case, he grades out more average across the board (except speed), so it's harder to see star potential."

Talent evaluator No. 3: "I have never seen the player, but he sounds like he has strong running ability, fielding ability and throwing ability with good hitting ability. Limited power potential."

Moves, deals and decisions


1. The Rangers have had no conversations with other teams about Michael Young since late in spring training, and right now, it doesn't appear as if anything will drive the team to make a trade before Young's 10-and-5 trade-veto rights kick in during the month of May. We had Young on the radio the other day and he said that once the season started, it was time to put the unhappiness of the winter behind him and focus on playing baseball.

2. Brandon Belt's shift from first base to the outfield has a familiar ring to it, John Shea writes.

3. The Dodgers have stopped plans to sell half-price alcohol.

4. The Royals' primary setup man lost his job.

5. A Tigers reliever was demoted.

6. The Red Sox are skipping John Lackey in their rotation, rather than Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Dings and dents


1. Ramon Hernandez is worried about Aroldis Chapman, whose velocity is suddenly down significantly.

2. A red flag has popped up with Chris Young.

3. Pedro Feliciano had a setback, Joel Sherman writes within his notebook.

4. J.J. Hardy was placed on the disabled list.

5. Franklin Gutierrez is making his way back from his stomach problems.

6. Some injured Angels will rehab in Arizona, including Kendrys Morales.

Wednesday's games


1. The Colorado Rockies are establishing, right out of the gate, that they are a team capable of excellence -- with the two core stars in their lineup, and their powerful bullpen, and their good young pitching. Troy Tulowitzki got another big hit and Huston Street racked up his sixth save, as the Rockies won on the road.

2. The White Sox bullpen has been a disaster so far, and it melted down in the late innings, and Ozzie Guillen mentioned that he might reach out to Bobby Thigpen.

3. Carlos Zambrano kept his cool after being pulled from the game; he apologized to his manager.

4. Charlie Manuel allowed Roy Halladay to finish what he started.

5. The Nats rallied in the ninth -- but not quite enough.

6. A.J. Burnett showed he still can't be totally trusted, writes John Harper. Burnett is benefiting in a big way from his use of a changeup, which he showed great confidence in during the Yankees' win over the Orioles -- and keep in mind that as of today, Burnett has more wins than the Red Sox.

7. Pablo Sandoval mashed a right-handed home run.

8. Ian Kennedy got blasted.

9. Terry Collins called a team meeting after the Mets' most recent loss.

10. Watched the start of the Orioles-Yankees game and Chris Tillman looked like he had no chance.

11. The Mariners lost their chance for a sweep, Larry Stone writes.

12. Ted Lilly had issues with the Giants, in losing.

13. Vernon Wells found something positive in the Angels' victory in extra innings, writes Mike DiGiovanna.

14. Orlando Hudson was The Man for the Padres, writes Bill Center.

15. The numbers were ugly, but the Twins say they like what they're seeing in Francisco Liriano, writes Joe Christensen. This reminds me of how the Red Sox wanted Clay Buchholz to change a couple of years ago -- and he did so, successfully. From Mr. Braunstein, why Liriano is struggling to get good results, with an ERA over 9:

(A) Hitters are chasing his off-speed stuff: His first three opponents have chased just 8 percent of fastballs out of the strike zone, 26 percent of sliders, and 33 percent of changeups. Those are all way below 2010's percentages (which were 20, 37 and 45, respectively). Opponents have missed with just two of their 55 swings against his heater in 2011.
(B) His velocity on all three pitches is down so far this year. His fastball has dropped a full 2 mph (93.5 to 91.5); his slider and change are down by 1 mph as well.
(C) His poor command results in fewer strikes on all three pitches: Fastballs have gone for 57.4 percent strikes this year (down from 62.6), sliders 60.0 (69.0), and changeups just 51.5 (60.0). That's forcing Liriano to fall behind in counts; he's actually thrown more pitches when trailing in the count this season than ahead.
(D) He hasn't been able to do any damage control. Opponents are hitting .393 with runners on base, 114 points higher than last season. On Wednesday, Liriano gave up "only" eight hits, but ALL EIGHT came in the same inning and led to six Royals runs.

16. The Cardinals muscled up against the Diamondbacks, writes Derrick Goold. Lance Berkman is heating up.

17. The Royals clubbed the Twins.

18. Brandon Inge got to frolic, writes Shawn Windsor.

19. Nick Masset melted down.

20. The Indians let chances slip away, writes Paul Hoynes.

21. Shaun Marcum was The Man for the Brewers.

22. The Pirates fell below .500. The Pirates' rotation is unsettled.

23. The Braves had no answers.

24. The booing started after Wandy Rodriguez's 24th pitch.

The Patience Index



Rumors.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler [+]

Deal for Young unlikely

11:09AM ET
Michael Young | Rangers
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The Texas Rangers so far have had no trouble finding at-bats for Michael Young, who has started all 12 games, including eight at designated hitter, while hitting a robust .333.

Young appeared to be the man without a position when the Rangers signed third baseman Adrian Beltre, but the trade rumors, once rampant in spring training, seem to have subsided considerably.

"The Rangers have had no conversations with other teams about Young since near the end of spring training, and right now, it doesn't appear as if anything will drive the team to make a trade before Young's 10-and-5 trade-veto rights kick in during the month of May, writes ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney in Thursday's blog.

The shoulder injury suffered by Josh Hamilton earlier this week opened up another spot in the batting order, making it evn more unlikely that Young will be dealt, at least for now.

- Doug Mittler

Brewers eye shortstop depth

10:51AM ET
Milwaukee Brewers
mil.gif

The Milwaukee Brewers are dangerously thin at shortstop at the top minor league level and are looking to make a deal, reports Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel.

The problem got worse when Edwin Maysonet, the starting shortstop at Triple-A Nashville, strained his right hamstring Tuesday and is headed to the disabled list. Journeyman Anderson Machado, who has played 24 games in the majors, currently is playing shortstop for the Sounds.

While assistant GM Gord Ash is looking for help, he admits "there's not a lot available."

The Brewers had hoped that Luis Cruz would fill the role, but he exercised his right of free agency at the end of spring training and signed with Texas.

- Doug Mittler

Is Leonys Martin worth the cost?

10:38AM ET
Texas Rangers
tex.gif

We mentioned Wednesday that the Texas Rangers are expected to sign Cuban defector Leonys Martin and give the Cuban defector a signing bonus in the neighborhood of $15 million, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.

The Rangers could use some immediate outfield help due to the injury to Josh Hamilton, but the 23-year-old would likely begin his career in Class-A Hickory or Double-A Frisco. Grant does say it "is not unrealistic" to think Martin could be in a major league uniform before the end of the season.

In Thursday's blog, ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney talked to several talent evaluators who seemed to be split on Martin, including one who wonders if Martin is worth the cost:

- Doug Mittler

olney_buster_30.jpg
Buster Olney

The book on Martin

"Talent evaluator No. 2: 'I like Leonys Martin and he was undoubtedly one of Cuba's top young players, but, as with a lot of good Cuban players, I'm not convinced his skill set will translate into him becoming a premium Major League player. The best way I can describe Martin is that his reputation seems to exceed the sum of his parts. Martin has plus speed and a good arm but no other premium skills or tools, so the rumored $15M seems aggressive.'"


Ubaldo on pace for Monday return

10:24AM ET
Ubaldo Jimenez | Rockies
28625.jpg

The return of Ubaldo Jimenez to the Colorado Rockies' rotation is shaping up as a marquee affair.

Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports Jimenez threw 81 pitches Wednesday in Arizona without pain and is on course to face Tim Lincecum and the Giants Monday night at Coors Field. The Rockies decided to play it safe when they placed Jimenez on the DL with a cut along his right thumb cuticle.

Jimenez's return could be the end of a big-league stint for Greg Reynolds, who started a game last week in Pittsburgh.

- Doug Mittler

Velocity issues for Chapman

10:10AM ET
Aroldis Chapman | Reds
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As soon as Aroldis Chapman throws a pitch, an initial reaction is to glance at the radar gun to see if the hard-throwing lefthander has again passed 100 miles per hour.

Chapman however, was only in the double-digit range the last two nights in San Diego, and catcher Ramon Hernandez wonders if it is a cause for concern. "Maybe he's tired. He's never had to go back-to-back two days in a row," Hernandez tells MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. "Especially him, when he's throws the ball, there's a lot of stress, more than any pitcher, because he throws way harder."

Chapman was working on back-to-back days and for the fourth time in five days, so the initial reaction would be to lighten his workload. Chapman, however, threw just 11 and 10 pitches, respectively the last two nights, as compared to 24 Sunday in Arizona.

Chapman also did reach 98 mph on his final pitch Tuesday, so it's not as if his velocity has vanished.

- Doug Mittler

Tejeda removed from set-up role

9:47AM ET
Robinson Tejeda | Royals
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The Kansas City Royals are off to a 7-4 start, a break from the gate that is even more surprising considering the shaky outings from middle reliever Robinson Tejeda.

After failing to retire a batter Tuesday against the Twins, Tejeda was removed from his role of primary set-up man, writes Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.

While Tejeda (5.06 ERA) deals with his problem of diminished velocity, manager Ned Yost could give more crucial innings to rookies Tim Collins, Aaron Crow and Jeremy Jeffress. The switch got off to a solid start with Collins and Jeffress combining for 3 2/3 scoreless innings Wednesday in a 10-5 victory over Minnesota.

The Royals aren't giving up on Tejeda, who worked in 54 games last season. Dutton writes that Tejeda changed his offseason throwing program to avoid shoulder issues, so the problems could be mechanical.

- Doug Mittler

Samardzija back to the rotation?

9:28AM ET
Jeff Samardzija | Cubs
29166.jpg

The Chicago Cubs didn't like what they saw from James Russell, whose audition for the fifth starter role Tuesday lasted just 55 pitches and 1 2/3 innings in a loss to Houston.

Russell's turn will come up again Tuesday night against San Diego and the Cubs could switch to Jeff Samardzija, if only by default, reports Gordon Wittenmyer of the Sun-Times.

Samardzija has switched back and forth from the bullpen to the rotation last year, and manager Mike Quade would prefer the righthander to have a more defined role. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and Samardzija remains in the starter discussion.

Wittenmyer says the Cubs also could turn to recently signed veteran Ramon Ortiz, who pitched 52/3 effective innings for Triple-A Iowa on Monday, or give Russell another shot.

- Doug Mittler

Second base platoon in Queens

9:11AM ET
New York Mets
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Spring training in New York Mets camp featured a spirited second base battle that was eventually won by Rule 5 draftee Brad Emaus. But less than two weeks into the season, there are hints that Terry Collins is at least considering some form of platoon, even if the manager won?t call it that.

Daniel Murphy started at second for the second straight game Wednesday in place of Emaus, who is hitting just .167.

While the Mets value Murphy as a bench player, they also need to get him some at-bats to keep him sharp.

- Doug Mittler

Keeping the Fenway streak alive

8:59AM ET
Boston Red Sox
bos.gif

We at Rumor Central love a good conspiracy theory and one surfaced in Boston Wednesday afternoon when the Red Sox postponed their contest with the Tampa Bay Rays four hours before the scheduled first pitch.

There was talk among the visiting Rays was that the Sox had called the game for fear that it wouldn't sell out, thus ending the team's consecutive sellout streak at a record 636 games. Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com reports that was not the case, citing a club source who said the games against the Rays on Monday and Tuesday were a tougher sell.

Whatever the case, the 2-9 Red Sox didn't mind getting the night off.

- Doug Mittler

How safe is Dice-K?

8:39AM ET
Daisuke Matsuzaka | Red Sox
28631.jpg

Red Sox Nation watched another brutal outing from Daisuke Matsuzaka Monday night, and there is some speculation that the Japanese right-hander could be made at least a partial scapegoat for the team's brutal start.

Matsuzaka allowed seven runs on eight hits with two walks and two strikeouts in only two-plus innings against the Rays Monday night at Fenway Park. "I wouldn't be surprised if we don't see him in a Red Sox uniform again," ESPN analyst Bobby Valentine said Monday on "Baseball Tonight."

While the patience of GM Theo Epstein may be wearing thin, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark says the Red Sox have too much invested in Dice-K to pull the plug right now.

James Shields and Brett Myers are believed to be among the pitchers that will be available around the July deadline, but teams generally do not deal starters this early this season at the risk of upsetting their fan base.

- Doug Mittler

The market for Slowey

8:26AM ET
Kevin Slowey | Twins
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The Minnesota Twins sent Kevin Slowey to the bullpen to start the season and the right-hander than landed on the disabled list with bursitis on his showing shoulder.

GM Terry Smith says Slowey's stay on the DL will not be a long one. Once Slowey returns, he again becomes the club's key bargaining chip. Jon Morosi of FoxSports.com says the Twins have every reason to seek infield help since second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka is on the disabled list and shortstop Alexi Casilla is hitting well below the Mendoza Line.

There always will be a market of teams interested in starting pitching and that list could include the Boston Red Sox after Daisuke Matsuzaka had another rough outing Monday against Tampa Bay. The Twins could be tempted to keep Slowey around, or at least wait for a highly attractive deal.

The Twins do have some pitching issues of their own, as Matt Meyers of ESPN Insider points out.

- Doug Mittler

Young's start pushed back

8:02AM ET
New York Mets
nym.gif

The New York Mets landed Chris Young over the winter for the discounted price of $1.1 million, largely because the righthander missed most of last season with health issues.

Young has been a pleasant surprise with a 1.46 ERA in his first two starts, but will miss his scheduled start Friday with biceps tendinitis. The Mets are being extra cautious with Young, who will have his next outing pushed back until Sunday in Atlanta.

The Mets are stretched for pitching with a doubleheader scheduled for Thursday against the Rockies. Manager Terry Collins says .J. Carrasco is the most likely candidate to start Friday in Atlanta.

- Doug Mittler

Yanks' shortage of southpaw relievers

7:42AM ET
Pedro Feliciano | Yankees
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Pedro Feliciano was at the center of a controversy earlier this month when Yankees general manager Brian Cashman accused the Mets of "abusing" the workhorse reliever during his tenure in Queens.

That did not prevent Cashman from giving Feliciano, who pitched in 92 games last season, a two-year, $8 million contract over the winter, a move that now has the potential of being a serious bust. Manager Joe Girardi conceded Wednesday that Feliciano will be out indefinitely after an MRI on Wednesday afternoon revealed "a shoulder issue" that may require surgery.

The Yankees still have a solid bullpen led by Mariano Rivera and Rafael Soriano, but Feliciano's absence leaves them without a top-of-the-line lefthander.

Boone Logan has been the only lefthander in the Yankee bullpen and he has been ineffective in four appearances. The Yankees could have called up southpaw Steve Garrison, who is at Double-A Trenton, but decided instead on 24-year-old right-hander Hector Noesi to replace the disabled Luis Ayala on the roster.

- Doug Mittler

Getting by without Hamilton

7:21AM ET
Josh Hamilton | Rangers
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The fabulous start for the Texas Rangers hit a serious bump in the road Tuesday when an ill-advised head-first slide by Josh Hamilton resulted in a broken right arm that will sideline the star outfielder for six to eight weeks.

Hamilton was placed on the disabled list and the Rangers called up Chris Davis, who was unable to make the major league roster despite a solid spring training.

Murphy is likely to get most of the time in left field in Hamilton's absence, but Mitch Moreland could be another option for manager Ron Washington.

While losing the reigning Most Valuable Player is a serious blow to any team, it is far from a knockout blow to the Rangers, writes Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com. Durrett notes that Murphy was a huge offensive producer when Hamilton missed last September, batting .355 with three homers and 17 RBIs in that final month of the season.

What will the Rangers miss the most without Hamilton? Our Buster Olney gives his take in Wednesday's blog.

Meanhwhile, Eric Karabell gives his suggestions on how to replace Hamilton on your fantasy team.

- Doug Mittler

olney_buster_30.jpg
Buster Olney

Hamilton leans to the left

"With the likelihood that Murphy will get the bulk of the playing time in the absence of Hamilton, what aspects of Hamilton's performance will the Rangers miss most? One is performance versus lefties. Hamilton has been really good throughout his career vs. right-handed pitching, and Murphy is no slouch, with a .490 career slugging percentage them. But Murphy doesn't have a great history against lefties. He had 1 homer in 114 at bats against lefties last season. Hamilton had 8 in 166."


karabell_eric_30.jpg
Eric Karabell

How best to replace Hamilton

"As for outfielders available in more than half of ESPN's standard leagues, if you're looking for power there's Josh Willingham, Jonny Gomes, Seth Smith, Tyler Colvin, Marlon Byrd and Pat Burrell. If speed is your thing, there's Dexter Fowler, Carlos Gomez, Cameron Maybin, Michael Brantley and recent folk hero Sam Fuld. Personally, I'd just go with Murphy, owned in 5.1 percent of leagues."


Bullpen tests Ozzie's patience

7:13AM ET
Chicago White Sox
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The Chicago White Sox have the day off Thursday, giving manager Ozzie Guillen some time to cool off and decide what he will do next regarding his bullpen.

The White Sox had another implosion from the relief corps Wednesday when Matt Thornton blew his fourth save of the season in a 7-4 loss to the Athletics. "I don't have any closer," Guillen tells ESPNChicago.com . "I don't have any closer. I don't."

The White Sox bullpen has yielded 22 earned runs in 36.2 innings and six blown saves in seven chances. Guillen could turn to Chris Sale, but he also struggled Wednesday, allowing three runs in the ninth inning. Guillen also could consider Jesse Crain or Sergio Santos for a closer audition.

As for trade possibilities, teams tend to be reluctant to deal relievers this early in the season, so Guillen may have to grin and bear it, at least for now.


post #759 of 77558
SAY NO TO EXPANDED REPLAY IN MLB 30t6p3b.gifindifferent.gif
post #760 of 77558
SAY NO TO EXPANDED REPLAY IN MLB 30t6p3b.gifindifferent.gif
post #761 of 77558
Quote:
Originally Posted by CincoSeisDos

SAY NO TO EXPANDED REPLAY IN MLB 30t6p3b.gifindifferent.gif


What kind of expanded replay are you talking about?  Im all for replay on plays that would result in a run.
post #762 of 77558
Quote:
Originally Posted by CincoSeisDos

SAY NO TO EXPANDED REPLAY IN MLB 30t6p3b.gifindifferent.gif


What kind of expanded replay are you talking about?  Im all for replay on plays that would result in a run.
post #763 of 77558
Does it involve NFL-style challenges?
Team Otaku | Team AM FAM | Team Yankees
Team New York Knicks #18
Reply
Team Otaku | Team AM FAM | Team Yankees
Team New York Knicks #18
Reply
post #764 of 77558
Does it involve NFL-style challenges?
Team Otaku | Team AM FAM | Team Yankees
Team New York Knicks #18
Reply
Team Otaku | Team AM FAM | Team Yankees
Team New York Knicks #18
Reply
post #765 of 77558
Curt Schilling is TERRIBLE on BT.

Goodnight.
post #766 of 77558
Curt Schilling is TERRIBLE on BT.

Goodnight.
post #767 of 77558
I know baseball is a slow sport but I'm fine with taking an extra minute to get the right call. But there has to be limits to this expanded reply. Obviously no balls and strikes, and there has to be a limit to how many you get, just like the NFL.
post #768 of 77558
I know baseball is a slow sport but I'm fine with taking an extra minute to get the right call. But there has to be limits to this expanded reply. Obviously no balls and strikes, and there has to be a limit to how many you get, just like the NFL.
post #769 of 77558
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbllplaya23

I know baseball is a slow sport but I'm fine with taking an extra minute to get the right call. But there has to be limits to this expanded reply. Obviously no balls and strikes, and there has to be a limit to how many you get, just like the NFL.

Im with you that I dont think you should be able to challenge balls and strikes......but.....what about 3-2 bases loaded pitches?  Kind of different than normal balls and strikes right?
post #770 of 77558
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbllplaya23

I know baseball is a slow sport but I'm fine with taking an extra minute to get the right call. But there has to be limits to this expanded reply. Obviously no balls and strikes, and there has to be a limit to how many you get, just like the NFL.

Im with you that I dont think you should be able to challenge balls and strikes......but.....what about 3-2 bases loaded pitches?  Kind of different than normal balls and strikes right?
post #771 of 77558
Nah I don't think they will do it on balls and strikes (they better not). THis is why you arent allowed to argue balls and strikes anyway (and you get ejected when you do) -- think how much longer games would take if EVERY pitch was argued. Games would probably take days. laugh.gif
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post #772 of 77558
Nah I don't think they will do it on balls and strikes (they better not). THis is why you arent allowed to argue balls and strikes anyway (and you get ejected when you do) -- think how much longer games would take if EVERY pitch was argued. Games would probably take days. laugh.gif
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post #773 of 77558
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleJs07

Curt Schilling is TERRIBLE on BT.

Goodnight.


WORD.

His shock value analysis/statements can only go so far.
post #774 of 77558
Quote:
Originally Posted by dland24

Quote:
Originally Posted by bbllplaya23

I know baseball is a slow sport but I'm fine with taking an extra minute to get the right call. But there has to be limits to this expanded reply. Obviously no balls and strikes, and there has to be a limit to how many you get, just like the NFL.

Im with you that I dont think you should be able to challenge balls and strikes......but.....what about 3-2 bases loaded pitches?  Kind of different than normal balls and strikes right?

I feel what your saying. It's just so hard to limit this expanded replay because they're are so many different situations. Do you guys think that each team should be given 2 challenges? But what would you lose if you lose the challenge? laugh.gif An out is too much. laugh.gif 
post #775 of 77558
Quote:
Originally Posted by dland24

Quote:
Originally Posted by bbllplaya23

I know baseball is a slow sport but I'm fine with taking an extra minute to get the right call. But there has to be limits to this expanded reply. Obviously no balls and strikes, and there has to be a limit to how many you get, just like the NFL.

Im with you that I dont think you should be able to challenge balls and strikes......but.....what about 3-2 bases loaded pitches?  Kind of different than normal balls and strikes right?

I feel what your saying. It's just so hard to limit this expanded replay because they're are so many different situations. Do you guys think that each team should be given 2 challenges? But what would you lose if you lose the challenge? laugh.gif An out is too much. laugh.gif 
post #776 of 77558
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleJs07

Curt Schilling is TERRIBLE on BT.

Goodnight.


WORD.

His shock value analysis/statements can only go so far.
post #777 of 77558
Minnesota Twins are 4-8.

Joe Mauer sent to the DL.

Not optimistic times in Minneapolis....
mpls
Reply
mpls
Reply
post #778 of 77558
Minnesota Twins are 4-8.

Joe Mauer sent to the DL.

Not optimistic times in Minneapolis....
mpls
Reply
mpls
Reply
post #779 of 77558
They're talking about expanding it to foul balls on the line among other things.

I think that's stupid... What if there's people on the bags? THEN what?

#%## replay indifferent.gif
post #780 of 77558
They're talking about expanding it to foul balls on the line among other things.

I think that's stupid... What if there's people on the bags? THEN what?

#%## replay indifferent.gif
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